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American Lightning was the first winner in an extraordinary day at Winton today. In the first ‘no public’ day of racing in the south brought about by the Corona Virus, the return to the birdcage by American Lightning was devoid of celebrations with not even part-owner and trainer Graeme Anderson on-course, preferring to stay at home and watch the races on television. The two year old colt was taken back early by driver Matty Williamson while Boyzhavtime speared to the lead. Williamson started to get serious inside the four hundred and took the colt wide. He finished the race off nicely and got up to beat a game Boyzhavetime by a neck. The winning time for the 1609 metres was 1-58.5. “He didn’t pace so good in the wet but he never drew a breath,” said Anderson happy with the way the colt ran and pulled up. American Lightning is by American Ideal out of Christian Cullen mare Zesty Philly. Anderson bought him at the sales paying $16,000. American Lightning getting up to beat Boyzhavetime on the inside    --Bruce Stewart photo He trained Zesty Philly with his then training partner Amber Hoffman after getting the mare from Gavin Smith. Anderson and Hoffman won one race with her at Winton in August 2012. “I got her second hand and she had all the ability in the world but she had a crook back. We gave her a few starts and she went huge then she succumbed to her old injury. I was always keen to buy one out of her.” The colt is owned by Anderson, Steve Pulley, Ray Chaiklin, Bruce Masson, Virginia Duncum, Edwin Corby, Kieran Corby and Tony Gow. “He’s a lovely big strong two year old. There’s a lot of Christian Cullen in him. They went their last quarter in 27 on the wet track and he must have gone better than that so it was a good run. I think we’ll push on with him. The Welcome Stakes is on the same night as the Derby. If Spirit Of St Louis does what he’s supposed to do today they’ll both go to Addington.”   Bruce Stewart

Afterburner won as he liked in his first start at Winton The three year old trained by Brett Gray and owned by Baynes Bloodstock and like many of their horses, his name is connected to aviation.  Afterburner trotted down to the line to beat Superfast Kiwi by four lengths. Although his headgear was removed Afterburner appeared to have plenty in hand at the finish and he looks like a promising trotter. He’s the first winner for Coktail Jet sire The Best Madrik who has left only four foals in New Zealand, all of which are three year olds. Another of The Best Madrik’s foals Madrik, which races out of the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis stable, is qualified but unraced. He too looks promising. Afterburner’s out of Knapdale Girl an eight win Sundon mare whose first foal is the four win trotter Full Noise. The Optimist appears to have a liking for Winton, having won two races both on the Central Southland course. She overcame a second line draw and a stout challenge by The White Rabbit to win by a nose. Kiwitrix can’t seem to win a trick. The talented trotter has galloped a number of times when racing, and today just when he looked as if he’d win his second race he galloped shortly before the finish line and was relegated to second with Christmas Babe promoted to first. Kickupyaheels won the fourth heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series today. Kickupyaheels and Johnny Morrison winning the Southern Belle Speed series heat.   --Bruce Stewart photo The four year old A Rocknroll Dance mare won last weekend at Wyndham and produced a similar run, finishing late wide out on the track to beat Bunters Dream by three quarters of a length. First starter Who Made Who looked like a potential Southland Oaks filly when, in the hands on Brent Barclay, he beat American Eyretime by two lengths. The Sweet Lou filly out of Arden Banner is trained at Aylesbury by Stephen Boyd and prior to today’s debut had won five of her six trials or workouts ironically when driven by Terry Chmiel who drove the runner up today. Arden Banner won twice in her thirteen start career. Her biggest win was in the Group One 2008 Sires Stakes Fillies Championship when she beat close relative Arden’s Darlin. Who Made Who will have to start once more in the district before she’s eligible to start in the Southland Oaks Final at Ascot Park at the end of next month. Who Made Who winning for Brent Barclay                --Bruce Stewart photo Major Watson lived up to his potential when he impressively won the Western Electrical Limited Mobile Pace. Trainer Nathan Williamson thinks a bit of the four year old which won two starts in a row earlier in the season but hasn’t had too much luck since. Owned by Williamson and Ben and Karen Calder the son of Art Major has now won three races from eight starts. Mach’s Back returned to winning form today. The six year old last win was at Wyndham on the 31st January 2019 over a mile in 1-52.5. From a second line draw driver Brent Barclay took the gelding back. He came down the middle of the track to beat a brave Stingray Tara which had sped to the lead at the 800 metres, and pinched a break at the top of the straight but was unable to hold out Mach’s Back which won by a half a head. The Kirk Larsen trained Forsure capped off some consistent form to win for driver Blair Orange.   Bruce Stewart

“I think you’d have to be happy – it was his first run for a while. He came down the outside of the track and he wasn’t going to get there but he tried really, really hard and picked them up,” trainer Graeme Anderson said of three year old Spirit Of St Louis which beat the older horses at Wairio today. From a wide gate driver Matty Williamson took Spirit Of St Louis back. With 1000 metres to run he was able to improve three back on the outside line. When Spirit Of St Louis was asked to improve with 300 metres to run he was forced four wide. The gelding show tenacity and under strong urging from Williamson got up to win by a head with Parama and Born To Boogie dead heating for second. The mile was run in 1-56.5 on a slushy track with the last 800 metres timed in 56.9 and the last 400 metres in 26.8. “He was at about ninety percent today so the run should tighten him up.” Like most trainers Anderson says it’s hard under the new handicap system to place three year olds and they’re regularly forced to race against the older horses. “It’s always been tough. With the old handicapping system you used to get every second win free. But now you get up there (the grade) pretty bloody quick but you don’t have many options. We had to race down here because we’d have to have gone to Addington last night (Flying Stakes) and then come home again so it was a good fit.” In a fortnight Anderson hopes to run the Sweet Lou three year old in the Group One New Zealand Derby. “If they still hold the race we’ll go to the Derby now and hopefully lob three back on the fence, mind our own business and have a dash at them. We took Eamon Maguire on exactly the same path and he ran third in the Derby.” Further up the road in the galloping code Anderson and a few of the owners in both Spirit Of St Louis and American Lightning watched Stella Creek, trained at Riccarton by Teri Rae, run second on debut.   Bruce Stewart

Former Southland  juvenile star Honkin Vision has been laid to rest at his owner’s farm just north of Invercargill. Vin Devery knew the thirty three year old wouldn’t make it through another winter and had to make the decision to have the horse put down. “His health was deteriorating. Normally he’d pick himself up in the summer enough to do okay in the winter but I felt he wasn’t going to this time,” Devery said. The son of Honkin Andy set the 1988 – 1989 season alight when he became the first two year old to win over $250,000 in one season. “That was a huge amount in those days.” Vin bred the pacer after his brother, well-known trainer Alan Devery, sold him the horse’s dam Frosty Vision with a positive test to Honkin Andy for $7,000. The big leggy colt was broken in by Branxholme trainer Kirk Larsen before heading to Vin’s barn. “I actually had him sold but he didn’t pass the vet.” Honkin Vision debuted at Ascot Park in 17th December 1988 running second to Superliner and  beaten by a length and a half. “He’s was underdone for that run.” That was the first and only time the fledging starraced in Vin’s colours. “I went on holiday at Christmas and sent him out to Alan and Henry to look after. When I got back they said ‘he’s too bloody good for you’ (laughter) and he stayed there.” Four weeks later under the care of training partnership Alan Devery and Henry Skinner, Honkin Vision annihilated a field of two year olds at Ascot Park, winning by 35 lengths. He then ventured to Oamaru winning the Juvenile Stakes before he headed to Auckland where he won his first Group race – The Group Two DB Draught Mobile Pace running the 1700 metres in 2-04.7 – a mile rate of 1-58.2. He then came home and won the Kindergarten Stakes, beating Popsicle by 13 lengths in 3-07.9 on a bitterly cold day. The time was a new race and track record. His two biggest wins came later that season when he won the $145,000 Group One Cigna Insurance Sires Stakes and the $150,000 Group One Benson and Hedges Championship both at Alexandra Park. “The most memorable moment for me was winning the Benson and Hedges.” He finished the season having won eight of his eleven starts and only finishing out of the money once. His winnings for the season were $250,630. At the New Zealand Trotting Awards later that season he was named New Zealand Two Year Old Pacer of the Year. He won a further six races as a three year old including a heat of the Sires Stakes in 1-56.8 at Ashburton. He went on to win the $150,000 Group One Sires Stakes Final and also won the Group Two John Branson Three Year Old Championship beating Christopher Vance. He beat the same horse in the second leg of the Triple Crown – the Flying Stakes before running sixth in the New Zealand Derby won by Winning Blue Chip. He was named Three Year Old Pacer of the Year at the end of the season. He was winless at four, having  only three starts and at five he won another two races including the Firestone Eurosteels Free for All when driven by Denis Nyhan. After running second to Millie’s Brother in the Monsanto Free for All, Nyhan took over the training of Honkin Vision. He end his racing career with 16 wins for stakes of $510,395. “We were watching some of his videos the other night and the commentator said Henry had told him he was the best horse he’d trained and driven. Henry never told me that.” Devery is certainly experiencing the ups and down of the industry at the moment. He’s enjoying watching Amazing Dream, which he bred, winning against both sexes in age group racing and has a full brother to Amazing Dream which qualified at Winton recently for trainer Kirk Larsen. Special Dream (full-brother to Amazing Dream) Unfortunately a filly he bred with the late Alan Blacker had to be withdrawn from last month’s National Sales in Christchurch after she developed sesamoiditis in one leg. “I really liked her. She’ll be x-rayed at Christmas before we decide what to do with her.” Despite the loss of his good mate Honkin Vision Vin Devery remains positive and still has plenty to look forward to in harness racing. Honkin Vision (Honkin Andy – Frosty Vision) Owners: Vin and Daphne Devery Trainers: Henry Skinner and Alan Devery As a two year old he won 8 of his 11 starts and banked $250,630 – his biggest season as a racehorse. From 43 starts Honkin Vision won 16 races for stakes of $510,395. He was driven to win by Henry Skinner (14) and Denis Nyhan (2). He won over half his races at either Addington (6) or Alexandra Park (3) His biggest win was in the Benson and Hedges Championship which he won $91,750.00. He also won the Sire Stakes Three Year Old Championship the following season. He won two Group Three races, three Group Two and three Group One races. As an aged horse his biggest win was in the 1991 Firestone FFA at Addington. He was crowned Two year old of his year (1988/1989) He was also Three year old of the year in the 1989/1990 season.   by Bruce Stewart

Wyndham winner Kickupyaheels is from a harness racing family that’s produced a host of winners over the past twenty years. The Rocknroll Dance mare trained by Robin Swain has shown a fair amount of ability in her first season of racing but she’s also shown some wayward tendencies. “She’s a stroppy damn thing but she’s got a lot of speed. I think she’ll win a few races and develop into quite a nice mare,” Swain said. In yesterday’s race she settled back before improving inside the last 300 metres when Swain brought her five wide just before the home straight. She let down nicely to beat Airwaves by a length and three quarters. The win was her second from eight starts. “We could have sold her a few times but Peter Neil the guy that raced Roman Gladiator with me decided to race her.” Swain plans to push on with the racing for Kickupyaheels and will start her in the fourth heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at Wairio this Saturday. “She’s probably the sort of mare that needs the right run.  Some races just won’t suit her so you just have to wait for the next time.” Kickupyaheels is the twelfth foal out of Direct Deal mare Little Egypt which was originally owned by Swain’s sister Denice. Little Egypt showed a lot of ability as a young horse, winning a 1609 metre trial at Ashburton for Denise in January 1999 by five lengths, running the distance in 1-58.4. “At that time not many two year olds would run that time. Mark Purdon and John Seaton were keen to buy her but on the Friday night before they were to come down there was a storm with thunder and lightning and the horse got out, went over the fence and cut it’s leg.” As a broodmare she’s left Montecrengle (14 wins) and Pelusiac (11 wins and $97,961). This is the family of Ann Other Porsche the winner of thirty seven races. Her Badlands Hanover daughter Lady Antebellum has left Billy Badger and Stars Tonight, both the winners of eight races and Need You Now which has won four. Another of her daughters, Christian Cullen mare Summer Ale, qualified and raced once. She left a couple of winners – Summertime Lizzie (Santana Blue Chip) which won twice and Argyle Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) which won two in New Zealand and another eighteen races in Australia. She’s paced a mile in 1-52.1. Meanwhile Buck provided a welcome change of luck for Ascot Park trainer Brent Shirley. Buck (1) and Nathan Williamson winning at Wyndham        --Bruce Stewart photo It was the trainer’s second winner this season – the first being Onesmartfella in October. Buck, having his third start got up to beat Glenledi Captain by half a neck in the Neville Cronin Memorial Mobile Pace. The Courage Under Fire four year old was lead back to the birdcage by Clerk of the Course Sally McKay riding Bucks uncle Vi Et Animo. Vi Et Animo and Buck’s dam Dyed Blonde are both out of Blondies Pocket.   Bruce Stewart

Bettor’s Delight colt First Class had the necessary race experience and ringcraft to dominate today’s Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham and driver Tim Williams used that to perfection. He controlled the pace of the race from the front with the knowledge that his main rival, stablemate Delightful Dude was on his back. There were no mid-race moves and from the 500 William notched First Class up a gear making sure none of the back runners could make any ground. “He got it pretty cheap down the back and was able to dictate the race from the 500 to 600. He won nicely and he still had the plugs in,” said Williams. The overall time was 1-56.6 for the 1609 metres with the last 800 metres run in 56.6. “Yep he did it nice. He’s just a great wee horse. Great doer, great gaited and doesn’t wear a lot of gear. He tries hard and is a lovely wee two year old,” said Williams. The winning margin was three quarters of a length with Delightful Dude running second and Otago visitor American Lightning a further length and three quarters back in third. “It worked out well. He can be a little bit racy but he relaxed really well once he got to the front so I thought there wasn’t much point in going much harder than I needed to.” Williams drove him in his first three trials before he headed north to race in Auckland. “I know the horse pretty well and the trip to Auckland has been the making of him. They grow up and it turns them into race horses. It was nice to get a win for him today because he’s had a couple of placings up until today.” First Class is trained at Rolleston by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Purdon has won the Kindergarten four times as a stand alone trainer with So Cool (2002), Lennon (2003), Ohoka Arizona (2007) and Messini (2013). He’s also won the time honoured race in partnership with Grant Payne with Sir Clive in 2008 and in the last seven seasons, with partner Natalie Rasmussen. He’s won the race six times with Itz Bettor To Win (2014), Waikiki Beach (2015), Pacing Major (2016), War Dan Delight (2018) and Flying Even Bettor (2019). Williams is in a purple patch of form at the moment having driven 15 winners in the last 16 days. This was his second Kindergarten Stakes winner, having driven Messini to win the Group Three race in 2013. Today’s win was Tim’s forty fourth group winner – 19 Group Threes, 11 Group Twos and 14 Group Ones. He’s fast approaching his 500th winner, currently being on 484. First Class is raced by Phil and Glenys Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, Gary and Kerry Woodham and Jim and Ann Gibbs. Kerry and Gary Woodham with First Class and Tim Williams He was bred by Bromac Lodge and is out of the Falcon Seelster mare Amaretto Bromac which won two races. The Kennards bought the colt at the 2019 Christchurch Sale for $50,000. The same group of owners won last year’s edition with Flying Even Bettor. And the Kennards and Gibbs also had a share in 2016 winner Pacing Major.   Bruce Stewart

Just a nose separated two of the most consistent pacers in Southland, Triroyale Brigade and Nota Bene Denario, in today’s MLT Three Rivers Hotel Wyndham Cup. Both deserved the spoils, but it was the Nathan Williamson trained Triroyale Brigade that claimed the $9,150 winning stake. “He tries all the time, he’s as honest as and this is a reward for consistency,” said Williamson who had three runners in this year’s Cup. Tim Williams drove the winner, whilst Williamson handled Pembrook Playboy. Franco Santino was driven by Brendon McLellan. From the front Triroyale Brigade began brilliantly before handing up to Mistacullect and he got Triroyale Brigade to the top of the straight. Williams then manoeuvred the four year old to the outside of Mistacullect and he came home powerfully, holding out a late charge by Nota Bene Denario which came up the passing lane. “He’s just got perfect manners and puts himself into the race all the time. He had a good draw and was beautifully driven by Tim.” Owned by the Better Have Tried Syndicate which includes trainer Austin Stack and his wife Miriam, Williamson’s wife Katie and her parents Ross and Robyn Jones. None of the owners were on track to receive the trophy today. Nathan Williamson with Wyndham HRC committee and sponsors (MLT)   --Bruce Stewart photo “Austin is in Auckland and Ross and Robyn are looking after things at home. It’s sad they’re not here because they follow him around everywhere.” Williamson and wife Katie have just had their second child – a boy whom they’ve named Lachie. Pembrook Playboy which started as favourite was a length and three quarters back in third after losing a big stretch of ground at the start. “I was thrilled with him. He probably lost 40 metres at the start, he gave Santino (Franco Santino) twenty metres and he finished the race off well. He just peaked on his run in the last 100 metres. He just hasn’t had a stand before and that was the worry but he got a beautiful run in transit afterwards.” Franco Santino was only six lengths from the winner at the finish, running the 2400 metres post to post in 2-59.8 – the fastest in the race. Williamson says Franco Santino and Pembrook Playboy will head to Addington while Triroyale Brigade will follow the Country Cup course. “He (Triroyale Brigade) just keeps putting his hand up and there’ll be another race for him somewhere.”   Bruce Stewart

The Robert Dunn trained Henry Hubert won his second Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup at Ascot Park today. “He traveled great throughout. He just felt sharp. Johnny (Dunn) was pretty happy with his work after his trial last week. On the way he won today he was right,” said driver Tim Williams who drove the Robert Dunn trained gelding to win the $40,000 staying feature. From the 10 metre mark Henry Hubert settled third early and with two laps to run Williams took the Bettor’s Delight gelding to the front. “When Brad (Williamson driving Vintage Cheddar) moved up at the half he just grabbed the bit a little bit more. When I asked him to go just past the quarter he really knuckled down and ran away.” The winning margin was four and three quarter lengths from stablemate Classie Brigade with Vintage Cheddar half a neck back in third. The winning time was 3-21.9. “The weathers nice, the track was fast and that’s what good horses do. He had a wee bit up his sleeve as he still had the hood on.” Henry Hubert is owned by Christchurch couple Ross and Angela Gordon. Mossdale Art did the right thing for former Riversdale farmer Archie Affleck when he won the Grinaldi Lodge Mobile at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today. Mossdale Art, which has an outstanding record in the province, led early before handing up to favourite Burlington. When the horses straightened up for the run to the finish, driver Ben Hope came down the middle of the track and got up to beat Burlington by half a length. The time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-43.0 with the last 400 metres run in a super quick 26.8. The Bettor’s Delight four year old mare is trained by Greg and Nina Hope at Woodend Beach. Affleck has been a supporter of the club for a long time, having formerly lived and bred horses in the district. One of the highlights of his involvement in the industry was winning the Northern Southland Cup at this meeting with Mossdale Conner in 2016. The Mataura trained Crusher Collins capitalised on a perfect trail behind pacemaker Only One Way to win the Neville Cleaver Fishing Handicap Trot. The Pres six year old mare driven by Stephen McNally exploded up the passing lane and won easily by two and a quarter lengths from Only One Way. It was the mare’s fifth win and with twenty one placings to her credit she’s been a good money earner for her connections. Her bank balance is now $55,000 from sixty three starts. Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon proved too classy for his six rivals when winning the AON Insurance Brokers Gore Mobile Pace. The Robert Dunn trained three year old was able to dictate his own terms in front for driver Tim Williams, with only the trailing horse Stingray Tara getting close. The winning time was 2-44.3 with the last 800 metres run in 56.1 seconds. Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon looks like a leading chance for next month’s Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes. Triroyale Brigade, on the quick backup after racing at Forbury Park on Thursday, made the most of the trail behind pacemaker Black Ops to win his fourth race. Driven by Brent Barclay the five year old ran up the passing lane to win by a length and a half. The time of 2-39. 9 was 0.3 outside of Kilowatt Kids Four Year Old and Older geldings record of 2-39.6. Black Ops, one of the most improved pacers in the province was game running second, with favourite See Ya Write running on from the back to get to third. Lulu Le Mans locked out her opposition by running a 25.9 last 400 metres when she won the NS Vets Total Vet Care Mobile Pace. The Bettor’s Delight three year old was taken to the front from a wide draw by driver Samantha Ottley and won easily by three and three quarter lengths from Renegade Rose.   Bruce Stewart

Trotting mare Pres The Belle is in the form of her life. Since returning south after racing in Auckland the six year old mare has won three races and run second and third in two other starts. In today’s trotting feature at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park, Pres The Belle started off the 30 metres mark and from there driver Tim Williams had what he described as a lucky ride. “Everything came her way and we were lucky with the way the race unfolded. Everywhere I went just got me that little bit closer and she got there soft. She was too good for them,” he said. Williams has now driven her in four of her thirteen wins and says the beach has made a huge difference. “Since she’s been home from Auckland she’s been going great. Since she’s been at the beach (Woodend) her form has turned around.” The winning margin was three and a half lengths from Dark Horse which looks to have lost none of her talent after being off the scene for two lengthy periods. Pres The Belle is owned by Stu Campbell, Des Minehan, Stewart Heal and Dexter Nind. The winning time of 3-24.0 was a new race, track and Southland record. The previous mare’s record of 3-26.7 for a 2700 metres stand was held by Dark Horse while the all-comers record of 3-26.3 was held by Monty Python. “Down to the wire she was getting a wee bit tired but she still had the hood on”   Bruce Stewart

Driver Matty Williamson made the most of the front line draw and My Moment’s Now’s fast beginning to win the ILT Gold Chip Final at Ascot Park today. The Andover Hall three year old trotted splendidly in front and was too good for her eleven rivals. “She was travelling great and was trotting a lot better today. Things are going the right way. It was the best she’s felt today. I liked her beforehand but she gave me a real good feel today. She had one ear up coming down the straight and she did it quite easily. I know she had a head start but she put away a nice field. You don’t want to let them in cheap but she was good enough to roll along.” Williamson says the Purvis stable have a high opinion of the three year old and one suspects she may have the Southland Trotting Oaks on her radar. Net Ten EOM two year old Beach Start impressed when he won the ILT Two Year Old Mobile Pace, a non-tote and qualifying heat at Ascot Park today. The Lauren Pearson trained gelding driven by Brent Barclay, has been impressive in all his public appearances. He’s won two workouts and ran third in a qualifying trial at Winton last month. He’s out of the six win Badland’s Hanover mare Weka Lass and in today’s trial he beat Yorokobi. Nicely compacted Beach Start                                      --Bruce Stewart photo The gelding is owned by Matthew Smith, son of well known owner Lester Smith. Matthew works as an orchard contractor in Cromwell and borrowed Weka Lass to breed Beach Start. Pearson is unsure of when the gelding will start his racing career as there’s been some interest in the horse. Meanwhile, early winners on the day’s race card were Changeover four year old Deus Ex for Geoff and Jude Knight, and Hold Thumbs for Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders. Fireball led all the way to win his first race for Kennington trainer Greg Hunter. Later in the day Ashburton trainer Brent White recorded back to back wins with Cranbourne and Burlington.   Bruce Stewart

The aged Winton trotter Dipendra, which won it’s sixth race at Invercargill today, is very much a part of the Stevens family. Although his trainer Tony Stevens says he’s regarded as a family pet around the stables it’s a different story when it comes to track work. “He’s a proper old sod. He could be jogging round quite nicely, then all of a sudden he’ll just explode and you’ll be swinging out the back of the cart. All the Winton trainers know him now and they just get out of his way,” he said. However around home Stevens says he’s a lamb. “He wouldn’t bite you, and the kids love him.” Stevens has had the Monarchy gelding since he was a young horse. He was sent south after his brother who was working for Kevin Townley, suggested Tony may like to try the horse. “They had this two year old up there and they asked me if I wanted to have a go with it. I said send the bugger down. They said I’d need to have company for him because he was a wee bit wayward. Oh boy, they didn’t know what wayward was.” Dipendra qualified on his home track in November 2013 as a three year old but didn’t go to the races until 2015. “We used to jog him up the gravel road at the race course and round to the red shed before bringing him back. Then I’d take him onto the track and give him three or four rounds and that went on for two years. Anyone else wouldn’t have put up with it.” Up until this season the horse has also had tying up issues which Stevens says he’s finally got on top of. “This is the first year I’ve been able to put decent work into him, whereas before he’d do a half an hours jogging and he’d tie up. We went back to some of the old receipes and they worked. I kicked out all the vets and chiropractors.” Tony who is 73, has been around horses all his life, obtaining a drivers licence at the age of sixteen and a trainer’s license at twenty one.  He’s had some nice horses in his stable over the years including Beaudiene Fella and Wintonian. The Stevens clan                                                             --Bruce Stewart photo At present he has one other hourse besides Dipendra – a two year old Majestic Son filly. “I’ve just broken her in and I quite like her. I didn’t want another horse because when Dipendra retires I retire. But the kids said no. They bought the filly as a yearling and said ‘there you are that’ll keep you going.’ “I’d like to get him (Dipendra) back next season. I’ll use him to jog up the two year old. If he’s feeling good I’ll take him to the races.” Today’s win was a family affair, with son Richard doing the driving. “He was out of the game and rather than us running round looking for a driver each week, I said ‘why don’t you get your licence back because you only have to turn up on race day.” In today’s 1700 metre mobile Richard took Dipendra straight to the lead. He dictated all the terms, holding on to beat Full Noise by half a length.   Bruce Stewart

Classy three year old Pembrook Playboy beat some hardened Country Cup horses in the Regent Car Court Mobile Pace at Ascot Park today. He was placed handy early by trainer driver Nathan Williamson but after a number of lead changes, he was four back on the inside running line. “I was travelling nicely but I was worried because the second horse (Please Shuddup) had got a big gap on me around the bend, probably four or five lengths at the top of the straight. But my horse has a brilliant turn of foot,” Williamson said. At the end of the 2200 metres the winning margin was three quarters of a length with Please Shuddup running second. The time was an impressive 2-43.8 in windy conditions with the last 800 metres cut out in 58.1. Williamson said the Bettor’s Delight colt will race at the Northern Southland meeting in a fortnight. “All going well we’ll go to Addington a fortnight after that and then look at the Derby. He proved today he can follow good speed up against some pretty good horses. He rounded them up lovely so he’s got a bit of class.” Pembrook Playboy is owned by Chris Alcock.   Bruce Stewart

Owner Colin Harvey has been kept on his toes getting T Bone Rawhide to where he is today. The six year old gelding would have tested most. But Harvey, who does all the early work with the trotter before he heads to Nathan Williamson’s stable, has stuck with the ship. “He’s always had a bit of shit in him. That initial preparation takes a lot (of energy). I always get him ready,” he said. “With this preparation I had to take him out to the track, jog him for a quarter of an hour solid with his gear on then take him home, put him in the cart and take him back to the track. Even after that he’d still try and boot you out during his first two rounds. I did that six consecutive days in a round before I got round the track without him trying to boot me out.” T Bone Rawhide rewarded Harvey today when he won his first race at Ascot Park in trying conditions. Harvey, who has trained twenty six winners in his own right still holds a training license, but decided a larger stable was probably what the horse needed. “I gave him to Nate because it’s impossible at home. He needs to have another horse right beside him to keep his mind occupied because all he does is put the boot in.” Harvey farms with his wife Pat at Kuri Bush which is between Brighton and Taieri Mouth and the best horse he trained was Tax Credit. He raced the Sir Dalrae gelding with the late Colin Baynes. Colin Harvey, Nathan Williamson, T Bone Rawhide and Chelsea Faithful    -Bruce Stewart photo After running tenth on debut Tax Credit won his next three races in a row before running sixth in a heat of the Southern Supremacy Stakes at Winton. “I came down to Winton and you Southland buggers ganged up on me. I drove him myself. I had a bad draw and went back. Every time I went to improve they yelled out ‘here he comes’ and moved out in front of him.” T Bone Rawhide is by The Pres out of the Penrod Eden mare Canya Catchme, a breed that Doug McCormick developed which features some pacing blood. “When I went to breed one, Jack Smolenski told me to breed him to Bachelor Star (a pacer) for stamina. He told me he was a better horse underneath than Arapaho. We think that’s put the staying trait into the family.” So how did Harvey come up with the name? “At one part we thought he wouldn’t be more than dog tucker so that’s where the T Bone came from (laughter). I wanted to leave him as T Bone but Pat said you can’t do that so we put the Rawhide after it. He going to be a top stayer and we’re not frightened by a bit of distance.”   Bruce Stewart

First time buyer Graham McClintock stole the show at the NZB Standardbred Sales in Christchurch today when he outlaid $280,000 for Southern Bred Southern Reared filly Moet Shard. The Bettor’s Delight filly owned and prepared by Mark and Debbie Smith of Shard Farm created a new Australasian record for a filly sold at a yearling sale. McClintock who runs a 2000 acre cattle and sheep farm in Cheviot in North Canterbury only decided last month to buy at the sales and got friend and trainer Jeff Whittaker to look through the catalogue. “In the last couple of weeks he came to us to say he was interested in getting into a yearling and said he wanted a horse by Bettor’s Delight out of a Christian Cullen mare. Graham’s been a farmer at Cheviot all his life. He was an active rider up to four or five years ago when he was riding, show jumping and hunting so he’s always been a horse person. His granddaughters ride with my daughter Stephanie so we got to know them through that,” Whittaker said. Whittaker picked Moet Shard out of the catalogue and sent Northern reinsman Scott Phelan south to view the filly on the SBSR Tour. “I got Scotty to have a look at her. He was staying at our place with Wainui Creek. We also had a good look at her on Monday night and we were pretty excited with what we saw.” Whittaker knows the Shard family well as his wife Tracey has a quarter share in Mach Shard who was also a sales topper in the 2016 Sale. “It’s a pretty nice family. It’s probably one of the best breeds in Australasia. To get a Bettor’s Delight filly out of a Christian Cullen mare from that breed was what we wanted to do. We got a good report from the vet, her conformation was good. She ticked all the boxes so we had a crack.” McClintock’s granddaughter, who’s in her early twenties, took on the role of bidder for the filly. “Granddad just told her to keep going. Graham was pretty excited,” Whittaker, who will train the filly said. He said the price was slightly higher that he expected. “To be honest I thought we’d have to pay $200,000. I thought we were a little bit overs but Graham was happy to pay that. With the granddaughters we looked at them having a broodmare. We had some other fillies and some colts as Plan B and C but when we got plan A we were happy.” Whittaker said this foray into harness racing won’t be the first and only time for McClintock. “I’d say they’ll be back next year.” Understandably the Smiths were on cloud nine after producing their sale topper and her price well and truly exceeded their $100,000 reserve. “We walked over to the pavilion and popped the reserve to the auctioneer five minutes before she came in. When she came in the opening bid was $100,000. I’ll have to watch the bidding (video) again but it was just going through the roof. It got to $200,000 that Mach Shard went for. I thought this is amazing then it went to 250, to 260. Afterwards we hugged each other behind the box. It was very emotional,” said Mark. It’s absolutely unbelievable. We’re here with the new owners having a Moet so there you go.” Once again it was a fabulous result for Southern Bred Southern Reared yearlings. John and Katrina Price’s Bettor’s Delight – Democrat Party colt sold to Cran Dalgety for $200,000. Bettor’s Delight – Democrat Party colt Vin and Daphne Devery’s colt out of Christian Dreamer was bought by Joshua Dickie for $160,000 while Paul and Mandy Pearce’s Bettor’s Delight colt out of Luminesce was purchased by Phil and Glenys Kennard for $150,000. A great day.   by Bruce Stewart

The Regan Todd trained mare Cheezel won the Robin Dundee Club Mobile Pace at Winton today. Regan is currently in Auckland looking over yearlings for tomorrow’s Auckland Sales at Karaka, he wasn’t on course, and left Cheezel in the care of his father Barry who brought her south yesterday. Todd has had the mare since November and has now won three races with her. She was previously trained by her part-owner Brian Fahey. The other owner is Trevor Casey. “He just sent her out here for a bit a change of scenery. We’ll give her one or two more races before she hits the breeding paddock. She’s done a good job,” Regan Todd said. Driver Blair Orange was three wide early after chasing Cheezel out of the gate. After the first 400 metres he was in front. He eased up on the speed, but things started to heat up when Amore Lancome moved up beside her on the outside, and the two went head to head between the 800 and the top of the straight. Cheezel shook Amore Lancome off but had to withstand the challenge of Yankee Party which had enjoyed a cosy run behind the leader. Cheezel held on to beat Yankee Party by half a length with Amore Lancome another half-length back in third. The mile was run in 1-57.8 with the last 800 metres run in a slick 56.1. “We had a scare a couple of weeks ago. She had a heart fibrillation at Addington so I’ve had to be a bit easy on her, but she’s bounced back.” Todd indicated that Cheezel could be back for the last heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at Wairio on 21st March. In other races on the card Carnegie Hall lived up to her international breeding and cleared maiden ranks in the Lamb and Cattle Grazier Trot. The four year old trained by Bob Butt was sent south to Lauren Pearson’s Winton barn and was driven by her partner Brent Barclay. The Andover Hall mare trailed early before Barclay went to the front with 1300 metres to run. The winning margin was a length from T Bone Rawhide. Long shot Targaryen made the most of an economical trip on the inside to come up the passing lane and beat second favourite Croesus by three quarters of a length. The Big Jim gelding owned by Michelle Larsen and trained and driven by husband Kirk was at odds of 53-1. Favourite Triple VC appreciated the drop in class when he won the Regent Car Court Pace. The winner of four races was up against primarily one win horses. He was patiently handled by Sheree Tomlinson who settled the six year old at the back of the field before bringing him down the outside to win by three quarters of a length. The Washington VC gelding is owned by local breeder Cleland Murdoch and The Fanny Allen Family Trust. He’s trained at Ascot Park by Murray Brown. The Interceptor completed a profitable weekend for Kenny Baynes. The Mach Three gelding trained by Brett Gray, driven by Jonny Cox and owned by Baynes Bloodstock Limited (Kenny and sister in-law Penny Baynes) lead all the way to win easily by five lengths. The Interceptor was having his ninth start today and looked comfortable in front. At Addington on Friday Miss Mucho owned by Kenny upset at odds of 54-1. The well-bred The Optimist won her first race for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. Out of the twelve win Armbro Operative mare Special Ops and by Christian Cullen the five year old was in the one one early before Barclay took her to the lead. She held out Sunset Red and Rakarippa. Barclay and Ellis have just recently taken on the training of The Optimist and have started her four times.  She was previously trained by Jack Harrington. The day ended with Lilac Becky winning for Southland Ambassador for Team Teal, Ellie Barron. It was one of two winning drives for her.   This will be the third running of the Team Teal campaign in New Zealand. Founded by Duncan McPherson in Victoria in 2014, the campaign was started to help raise awareness and funds for research of ovarian cancer. McPherson lost his wife to ovarian cancer. He vowed to continue her fight, and has grown the movement from Victoria, to nationwide Australia and now New Zealand. Every female driver in New Zealand wore the Teal Pants during February and March 2019, with each win receiving $400 in donations, $200 from Harness Racing New Zealand, $100 from Woodlands Stud and $100 from the respective Club. Other female drivers Kirstin Barclay (The Optimist) and Sheree Tomlinson (Triple VC) contributed to this great cause today as well.   Bruce Stewart

Monkey Bones mare Seekie Monkey was back in the winners circle at Winton today after recording a handful of placings in her last six starts. Owned by Kevin Strong and Trevor Little the five year old began well from the fifteen metre handicap and settled sixth early. With a lap to run trainer driver Nathan Williamson moved her off the running line to sit parked. At the 800 leader Whatwillbewillbee galloped, leaving Seekie Monkey in front. “I was quite happy to sit parked but when that horse broke. It left me in front which turned out okay,” said Williamson. Just after turning in, he pulled the ear plugs on Seekie Monkey and she let down nicely to hold out Chloe Rose and Full Noise. “She’s a lovely mare and did it all right today.” The winning margin was one and a half lengths and the time for the 2400 metres was 3-04.3 with the last 800 metres run in 58.4. “She got beaten last start by a pretty nice horse (Cuchulainn) but I wasn’t 100% happy with her. Since then we’ve changed a few things so we came here today confident that she was right on track. She had a bit of vet work done which has made a big difference. We also altered her shoeing slightly so I’ll have to give Franksie (farrier Brendan Franks) a bit of a plug.” Kevin Strong and Trevor Little with Seekie Monkey and Nathan Williamson    -Bruce Stewart photo Williamson said Seekie Monkey will continue to race through the Southland handicap grades. It was the Branxholme trainer’s sixteenth win of the season and he currently leads the Southland Trainers Premiership.   Bruce Stewart

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